Newness for a New Year

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I haven't blogged in a while. I guess I have been catching my life up after the events of April. I finished grading today, and all my grades are posted, which means that my summer has officially begun! I am not teaching spring term, but I will be back at it by the end of June.

I am starting my fourth and last summer in Provo today. I can hardly believe it has been four years for me here, especially since there was a point in my life when I never wanted to live in Provo at all. But, it has been good to me. I finish teaching at BYU in August and then I am off to some kind of newness. I really don't know what, but I will let you know when I do. I am taking May off from all major decision-making in my life. I don't even want to think about it until June.

After the funeral, a friend of mine said, "Well, maybe your life can get back to normal." I decided that I no longer know what that is.

Here are some highlights from the past month, not in any particular order.

1. Phone died.

2. Car died the next day. Actually, this is funny. My car starts smoking like crazy. We pull over and lift the hood--green antifreeze is everywhere. Any guesses? The hose from the radiator to the engine broke. It was a minor fix, but I still needed a tow. Amelia and I just laughed. This was two days after the funeral. Luckily it didn't happen on my way home from Provo earlier that day.

3. Since I don't really like driving, and as you can tell, I have a car that tends to have problems, I take the bus every chance I can get. I love it. It is fun to people watch. I have even concocted a story about a couple I see frequently. I first saw them last fall and I have watched as they have apparently become engaged. I like to think of them as Brad and Christy. The thing is, I see them everywhere--not just on the bus. I would introduce myself, but then it would take all the fun out of making them into personalities.

Oh, I am stoked that FrontRunner is running. I can't wait to take it home from Salt Lake. My mom and I are going to head into the city next week for an afternoon together. She hasn't been on a train, so it should be a real adventure.

4. I have seen Penelope twice. I love it. For those of you who didn't like my last movie pic, this one will probably be better for you. This is a fun, romantic movie. And yes, it helps that the lead man is James McAvoy. The entire cast is great though. Mr. Bingley from the new Pride and Prejudice also has a role. He proves he is really good at playing a buffoon. My sisters, mom, Cora, and Joanie went on a girls' night out last Friday. It was great to be together. It was Cora's first girls' night, and she loved it. She is already planning the next one.

5. Favorite new snack: Cliff bars for kids. They are the right size and they taste great. You can get a box for $10 at Costco.

6. I got my hair cut by someone who actually knows how to cut curly/straight hair. I am trying bangs again. We will see how long that lasts.

7. I am off to Monetery, California in a week or so. I am going for business, but it is mindless business. So, it might actually be a bit of a vacation. I am going with two of my good friends, so who can complain?

8. I bought herbs for my very own herb garden, actually it is more of an herb pot. I have always wanted to have one. I am starting with basil, cilantro, dill, and sage. I also planted flowers at my parents' house. It was amazing to go to J&J in Layton and walk the long stretches of flowers and plants. I think it is very healthy and cathartic to plant beauty. If you are having a bad day, just go to a plant store and walk around.

9. It is the summer of reunions for me.

I had a Chicago reunion. (I was a camp counselor for an inner-city youth program a few years ago, in Chicago).

I have a Rick's roommate reunion coming up the end of May.

High school reunion in July. Go Vikings!! Because Salli is on the planning committee, I am also helping. In reality, I simply purchased the subscription to It was the easiest thing to do.

Camp Loll reunion in August. They are trying to get everyone who has ever worked on camp staff to come. It should be great fun. We are planning to go early and tour Yellowstone. It is funny that the camp reunion is really like a family reunion for the Grovers. We are all going.

10. I am in the dating class in church. It is during Sunday School. No, I didn't volunteer. It is invitation only. This is round 2 for me over my four years in Provo. I understand what they are trying to do, but I am glad I only have one more Sunday in the course.

Hopefully, I will be able to start blogging more regularly. After all, I am on vacation!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I was lying in my bed a couple nights ago and was pleased to see the moonlight streaming into my room and saturating my bed. It reminded me of nights long ago at camp when we would open our tee pee flaps and go to sleep in the moonlight. It was comforting to be wrapped in such softness. I appreciate those moments when you can be still and feel that there is goodness in the world. Even though you experience pain and sorrow, there is always cause to rejoice and feel happiness--and a bit of moonlight can almost always smooth the wrinkles of a worn and restless spirit.

I have felt such goodness and kindness from so many of you. Thank you for the notes, calls, flowers, and for the general support and love. It has meant so much to me and to my family. Although it was hard to say goodbye to my grandmother, I was full of honor for having been privileged to know her and to be within her scope of influence. I am so glad I was able to know her as a woman, not just as a child, because I can see her strength and her dedication much more clearly as I face my own set of challenges and experiences.

It is remarkable how quickly life can change. You become so accustomed to people and places, when really they can be taken from you so quickly. But memories are such beautiful gifts. And, change will always come. I hope to make many more memories that will sustain me somewhere in the future. What we do today might just be the strength to endure some future event. Or, it will be an added measure of moonlight to take us back to joyous moments when the all the world seemed right and true.

The best way to bind yourself to other people is to love them. I can't express how deeply I love my grandma. She loved me my whole life, and she gave everything she was to us. I hope to be such a woman one day. I hope to be loved as she was and to be as worthy of it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lora Florence Cook

Last night my Nana passed on. I haven't figured out how best to say that or to even tell people. It sounds so strange to say "passed away" because what have they passed away to? I guess "passed on" represents better where she is. She has passed on to the next glory.

I don't think she could have chosen a better time to leave. It was a beautiful, warm Sunday and we had just had a family prayer a few hours before. But, even though I have been preparing for this over the course of three weeks, you never know how you will respond when the moment arrives. Of course I was sad to lose her, but I was also so glad that she was no longer in pain. She hasn't been responsive for days, so it was a relief that she could finally be free of her body.

I have never been so near death before. As a child, I didn't like the idea of a dead body, but somehow last night I moved beyond that. She is my Nana, and I was honored that I could be with her in her final moments. It was a type of beauty I have never experienced before. And, to really think about where she now is brought me so much peace and relief.

It is strange that you can want death for someone. You spend your life trying to evade it, but at some point, death seems to be the best thing. And, you can feel that it is the next adventure for that person. I've learned so much about the body and about the power of a person's spirit.

She was a remarkable woman who taught me so much about myself and the world around me. She was determined and capable. I hope to render as much love and service in my life as she did in hers.

Thank you all for your support and love. I am so glad that many of you knew and loved her.

Her funeral will be Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Centerville North Stake Center, 1461 North Main Street. The viewing will precede the funeral at the same location from 9:30-10:45 a.m. If you would like to, you are more than welcome to come and celebrate her life and her faith.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Breanne in Real Life

Two weeks ago today, my Nana fell and broke her hip. We got the call around 6 p.m. and by 8 p.m. that evening my world had spun off its somewhat stable center.

She was getting up from her rocker to move to the couch, and she collapsed or stumbled--we aren't really sure. Because of her dementia, she couldn't even remember why she had been taken to the hospital.

Amelia and I went directly to LDS hospital and ended up staying up with my family for the next few days. I canceled classes and wore the same thing for 3 days, but it didn't seem to matter. When something like this happens, you really don't care about the things that often seem to cloud your life.

You know those scenes on TV shows when the doctor comes in and says something like "You have two options ..." Yeah, that was me and suddenly the reality of such options struck me with full force. At first, they were optimistic that a hip replacement would be successful and she would be up in a few days. Then, her regular doctor explained the severity of her heart condition and suddenly we had to choose between high-risk surgery or the reality of a few more weeks with home care.

We decided to bring her home and care and make her as comfortable as possible with the time she had left. You spend your whole life trying to evade or prevent death by pills, surgery, and hospital stays but at some strange point death becomes the only option. Your whole way of thinking changes as you have to allow someone to die. The Hospice workers have been wonderful about explaining the natural process of the body as it approaches death. And even though I understand that she will be with us for only a few more days, I still somehow hope that when I go and see her that she will have rebounded. But, she doesn't. She sleeps more and more. She is still a fighter though and her humor still makes us laugh.

My whole life I have believed in heaven. I have always known that our spirits live on, but as I have sat by her side and held her hand, I've never needed to believe it so much. Religious skeptics might say that we create the concept of heaven to console ourselves. But, I believe that because I can feel the love of Heavenly Father, I know that he would make it possible to be with the people I love again.

One of the most comforting parts of the past two weeks have been the memories of moments I shared with my Nana. I like to tell her all the stories I remember. They feel so real to me now. I hold them close in anticipation of when they will be what I have to remember her by and what I will share with my own children one day. I guess it will be something like, "Did I ever tell you about the time that Nana and I .... ?"

Thank you to all the people who have expressed love and help.